When I sat down to write our 2022 trends article this year, I couldn’t stop thinking about a line of dialogue from Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”. “How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, then suddenly.”

If you sold real estate over the last two years, you know why this passage came to mind. If you’re a journalist just looking for a scoop, I can break it down for you: massive change, lightning speed.

A Historic Year for Realtors

From his perch on the National Association of Realtors (NAR) stage, our real estate coach and technologist Chris Linsell noted just some of the trends that switched into ludicrous mode—seemingly overnight. Zillow stumbled while suburbs boomed. Remote workers reshaped markets and bidding wars became front-page news.

Inflation, supply chains, and spending bills either spelled doomsday for the market or a historic boom—depending on which pundit you listened to. With all this change, predicting what 2022 has in store is daunting, to say the least, but it’s a challenge we signed up for.

We reached out to the smartest real estate thought leaders we know and asked them a simple question: “What’s the biggest trend real estate agents should look out for in 2022 and how can they pivot their business to meet it?” Here’s what they told us:

Agent Branding Will Matter More Than Ever in 2022

Ryan Serhant, Founder & CEO of SERHANT.

Ryan Serhant Headshot“We are living in a digital-first world and our online feeds are becoming oversaturated, cluttered, and overwhelming. For agents to break through the crowd and grow their business—today, in 2022, and beyond—authenticity and genuine connection are more important than ever. Agents need to use their online presence to position themselves as trusted partners. A clear, compelling, memorable personal brand built on YOU is the most important marketing strategy that will help any agent cut through the noise and stand out in a sea of salespeople in their market. People hate being sold, but they love shopping with friends—this is more true now than it’s ever been.

“Having a memorable personal brand has also never been easier, thanks to the power of social media. Agents just need the blueprint. I’ve figured out the secret sauce as I worked my way to becoming the most-followed real estate brand in the world over the past 13 years and I’ve broken it down into three steps:

  1. Understand your core identity
  2. Share consistent content
  3. Shout your successes from the mountaintop

“The Serhant Brand Strategy System will be taught in the latest Sell It Like Serhant course, How to Build Your Personal Brand.”

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Better Tech Will Widen the Gap Between Top Agents & Everyone Else

Alyssa Brody, ESQ., Co-founder of Development Marketing Team

Alyssa Brody Headshot“We believe that new technology will continue to be an evolving trend in 2022. The real estate industry is poised for explosive growth given the increasing number of tech tools and property technology companies entering the space. We believe that the utilization of digital services, such as digital marketing, will be a widening trend in the year ahead.

Though digital marketing has always been a core tenet of our approach, new tech tools have allowed us to expand further, tracking data in real time and making informed decisions about both the marketing and sales of real estate properties. We have been able to generate high-quality leads from this approach, and we believe that as more agents and brokers invest in digital marketing, they will start to utilize data and analytics in a purposeful way that will help to more effectively sell real estate.”

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Inventory, Drop in Value Investments & Interest Rates Will Continue to Shape the Market

Michael Nourmand, President of Nourmand & Associates

Micheal Nourmand HeadshotToo little or too much inventory, drop in value investments, and a sharp rise in interest rates are the biggest concerns. For buyers looking at purchasing in 2022, these three factors will be the biggest red flags and could potentially derail a successful real estate market for next year. Inventory in the 4th quarter of 2021 was extremely low, and it looks like this is going to continue into 2022. Therefore, I would recommend that buyers purchase property now because I don’t see inventory getting better in the short term. Consumer price index just came in at 6.2%, which is the biggest surge in more than 30 years, so I anticipate that interest rates are going to increase soon to curb inflation. Unless you are a cash buyer, now is the time to buy.

I think agents should show their clients what their monthly payments would be if interest rates go up ½%, ¾%, or 1%. They will see that their buying power will decrease.”

Successful Realtors Will Make Their Business Social, Surprising & Should Focus on the Scarce

Chris Linsell, Real Estate Coach, Speaker & Senior Close Staff Writer

Chris Linsell Headshot“2022 is likely to be the year of innovation via acquisition, which means that we’ll see major players like Zillow take off the gloves and actually declare themselves actual brokerages (and officially a competitor with most agents). If agents want to remain solvent (and even accelerate) in the face of these major competitors, they need to be:
  • Social: It’s really difficult for mega-brokerages to be as ingrained in the neighborhoods they’re competing in as you, the local expert. Lean on this strength, both digitally (hello, social media strategy) and in person (the coffee date should be a weekly thing this year).
  • Surprising: Zillow’s (and others like it) success is based in large part on consistency and automation, but they fall short when it comes to spontaneous, surprise-and-delight opportunities. Look for ways to get the wow factor of the unexpected this year; it will pay off in spades.
  • Scarce: The major real estate corporations focus on mass markets. While you want to be visible to all, you want to be the expert to your specific niche. Get into and dominate a scarce niche (condos, especially those with short-term-rental options are my pick this year) and be the master. You’re never going to compete for the entire city’s business, and you don’t want to.”

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WATCH: Inman Connect 2021—Real Estate Tech Leaders Predict Trends for 2022

When he isn’t coaching agents or presenting at NAR, Chris Linsell heads to real estate conferences—so you don’t have to. This year, he interviewed five real estate tech leaders to get their take on what 2022 will bring for agents.

Realtors Who Create Local Content That Highlights Lifestyle Will Get More Leads

Krista Nickols, Associate Broker, SERHANT.

Krista Nickols HeadshotThe importance of hyper-local neighborhood videos and activations in 2022. The best agents will lean into lifestyle perks and the importance of producing fresh and local content. With buyers purchasing sight unseen or requesting videos prior to setting up showings (often due to busy schedules during the holidays), it is more important than ever for agents to get creative with their marketing materials. At a new development in the FiDi, Jolie, we’ve put together a few out-of-the-box series and activations that showcase the neighborhood.

“This week we are inviting guests for a ‘Taste of FiDi,’ where we will showcase our top restaurant picks in this thriving neighborhood (this will also be filmed and shared on our Instagram feed). If agents take the time to make their content exciting and up-to-date, then clients and prospectives will continue to check back at their feeds and listing pages to see what’s coming up. You never know what can translate into a sale!”

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Agents Who Focus on Short-Form Video Will Thrive

Eric Simon, LA Realtor, Founder of The Broke Agent

Eric Simon Headshot“The biggest trend agents should look out for is social media’s continuing shift to short-form, high-quality, vertical video. Agents must evolve with major platforms and focus on producing entertaining/educational content. If your posts aren’t immediately capturing attention or providing value, they will receive little to no engagement and your social media presence will be overshadowed by the agents who go all-in on video. ‘Just Solds’ and ‘Just Listed’ posts will no longer get the job done as users will scroll right by content that is not keeping them entertained. In order for agents to succeed in 2022, they must produce consistent, high-quality video on all platforms to stay top of mind and relevant to their clients and prospects.”

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Consumers Will Have More Access to Data Than Ever Before

Sam DeBord, CEO at  Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO)

Sam Debord Headshot“Agents and brokers should be prepared for consumers to have more information about their work and their compensation. More information about commissions offered by listing agents to buyers’ agents will be forthcoming on consumer-facing internet websites. The services that brokers offer will become more transparent to consumers, including which agent provides which role in a transaction. This trend will continue to pick up, and agents need to be able to succinctly state why they provide value to their customers in describing the service they offer and the fees they charge.”

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Understanding Blockchain Will Be More Important for Realtors

Erin Sykes, Luxury Real Estate Advisor, Chief Economist, Nest Seekers International

Erin Sykes Headshot“In 2022, we will begin to experience using NFTs in real estate to improve and streamline the closing process and work toward instantaneous settlement by using blockchain to register title, surveys, transfer a property, and complete all background diligence, thus ensuring the transaction’s integrity. Smart agents will ramp up their understanding of blockchain and how the technology can affect their business.”
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Agents Will Need Deeper Market Knowledge to Compete

Lisa Lippman, Associate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens, Manhattan

Lisa Lippman Headshot“Buyers are open to all property types, so now more than ever, brokers need to be knowledgeable about the nuances of the market’s inventory to best serve their clients. In New York City specifically, there are fewer buyers who only want a co-op or only a condo. While previous buyers pivoted toward condos, I think we will see a swing back because buyers are feeling that the condo inventory is priced too high, and they are recognizing the value in co-ops. We will also see a continued focus on home offices and spaces that can be carved out within a home. Looking beyond COVID, people have gotten used to working from home and want these dedicated spaces.”

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Capital Investment From Overseas Will Increase

Pierre Debbas, ESQ., Managing Partner of Romer Debbas LLP

Pierre Debas Headshot“Foreign Capital: Going into the end of 2021, we are seeing an increase in interest from overseas investors now that the travel restrictions have been lifted. Demand from abroad should continue to steadily increase, which will almost certainly benefit every sector of the real estate market. It remains to be seen whether concerns of inflation and the general stability of our economy will deter capital from overseas from entering our market or whether the bull run that housing, multi-family, and industrial real estate have had in 2021 will be viewed as an investment to hedge against further global inflation.”

Over to You

What do you think 2022 has in store for real estate agents? Let us know in the comments.

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